METEORA MONASTERY THROUGH THE ARCH . . . . . . (GREECE, THESSALY, TRIKALA, KALABAKA, METEORA) . . . . . . The old monastery of Saint Nicolas in Meteora in central Greece. Like the other monasteries in Meteora is built on the top of a monolith rock. These huge monoliths are a very rare geological phenomenon. During the period between 11th and 14th century, on the top of these monoliths, the Greek monks built 24 monasteries, in order to be protected from the bandits and pirates. Until the 20th century, monks, pilgrims and supplies reached the monasteries only by means of rope-ladders or by a big basket coming up and down by a winch mechanism manipulated by the monks on top. Nowadays, only six of these monasteries remain renovated in the region, while the rest are abandoned and ruined.